FAM deputy president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and vice president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin with FC Barcelona chief executive officer Antoni Rossich yesterday. Pic by Osman Adnan
LIONEL Messi's presence alone could sell half the tickets despite reigning world club champions FC Barcelona's date with a Malaysian XI at the National Stadium on Aug 10 falling on the third day of Hari Raya.The much anticipated visit of the four-time European champions comes with expectations from fans who want a full star-studded line-up.
"The summer will be a busy period with a lot of uncertainty with players moving away and coming in.
"But yes, our plans are to bring our full team here," said FC Barcelona chief executive officer Antoni Rossich yesterday.
Rossich was speaking at the announcement of the friendly match, which is part of the three-match FC Barcelona Asia Tour 2013, which sees the giants also visiting China and Thailand.
Also present at yesterday's press conference were FA of Malaysia deputy president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, vice president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin and Tourism Ministry secretary general Datuk Dr Ong Hong Peng.
It is likely that Argentinean Messi will line up alongside the likes of Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez and Cesc Fabregas to take on the Malaysian side.
The Malaysian selection, Tengku Abdullah said, would feature a mix of young and senior players, who will be tasked with putting on a respectable show against the Spanish giants.
Tengku Abdullah did not indicate whether foreign players involved in the Malaysian Super League would be included in the Malaysian selection.
At the presentation, Rossich also briefed the audience on FC Barcelona's vision and values.
"We are a club owned by the 170,000 members who vote for office bearers.
"It is not owned by individuals and we are not a business, so our aim is to make the members happy," said Rossich.
He elaborated that Barcelona's success is derived from their commitment to youth development with teams from all age groups up to the senior team all drilled in the same principles of possession of the ball, attacking and attractive football.
This will be Barcelona's first ever official visit to Southeast Asia. Tickets, costing between RM98 and RM688 went on sale yesterday. By Arnaz M. Khairul
Read more: Chance to catch Messi and company - Soccer - New Straits Times